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December 5, 2001
1301 IST

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Ragging victim commits suicide in Andhra Pradesh

Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad

An 18-year-old student of the Agricultural College at Mahanandi in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh committed suicide on Monday at his native town in Anantapur district after being sodomised by his seniors in a ragging incident.

The police on Tuesday registered a case under the Anti-Ragging Act and the Indian Penal Code and took several suspects into custody even as a manhunt was launched to nab those still at large.

The case has been entrusted to the Crime Investigation Department (CID) following a directive from Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.

According to Kurnool district police, 18-year-old B Govardhan had enrolled for the B Sc (Agriculture) course at the Mahanandi college, which comes under the Acharya N G Ranga Agricultural University, two months ago.

Being an outstation student, he was residing in the college hostel.

However, on Monday night, he committed suicide at Tadipatri in Anantapur district.

In a suicide note, Govardhan wrote that on November 30, some senior students had organised a get-together in the hostel.

Some students, in an inebriated condition, forced him to strip and perform dirty acts, he said, adding that he was even sodomised.

He named Srinivas Raju, T Pamuleti and Sanjay Kumar as his tormentors.

Following the humiliating incident, Govardhan returned to his native town and resorted to the extreme act on the night of December 3.

College authorities admitted that the incident occurred despite their efforts to prevent ragging. Several student organisations condemned the incident and demanded stern action against the culprits. They also sought an ex-gratia of Rs 200,000 for the victim's family.

Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has directed the college officials to suspend all the senior students responsible for the incident.

He sounded a stern warning to those indulging in ragging and asked the managements of colleges to take measures to prevent recurrence of such incidents. He also told them to create awareness among the students about the Anti-Ragging Act.

Enacted in 1997, the Anti-Ragging Act provides for stringent punishment, including imprisonment up to five years and fines up to Rs 10,000 for indulging in offences such as assault, criminal intimidation, wrongful restraint, confinement, abduction, causing grievous hurt or committing unnatural acts.

For causing death or abetting suicide, the punishment is life imprisonment with a fine of Rs 50,000.

The suicide incident comes close on the heels of two ragging incidents in the Gandhi Medical College and Osmania University College of Technology in Hyderabad in November.

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